Around any fashion show, there are at least two intended audiences: the people watching the runway in person and the exponentially larger audience experiencing the show secondhand, which in 2019 often means on social media.
Social media has become an increasingly important engagement channel for amplifying Fashion Week related messaging; and based on the performance of brands around the recently concluded event, here are the ListenFirst’s dos and don’t for driving social engagement around one of the biggest showcases for Spring/Summer fashion.
Don’t: Hesitate To Participate Just Because You’re Not A Fashion Brand
Of course it makes sense as a baseline assumption that only brands that sell clothing or apparel would want to present around Fashion Week but, on the other hand, brands that don’t fit into that mold only stick out more.
For example, Cheetos participated in Fashion Week this year with a House of Flamin’ Haute runway show, with outfits inspired by the orange snack and its cheetah mascot. During Fashion Week, Cheetos’ Fan Growth on their social media channels increased by 138%, comparing September 6-11 to August 31 – September 5, 2019. Especially on social media, a messaging angle that’s unexpected is going to get noticed.
Do: Check Out the Unofficial New York Fashion Week Shows
Between September 6-11 there were 85 different shows making up New York Fashion Week. The average consumer may not have a clue which fashion brands are or aren’t on the official roster. For brands which not are not official participants, New York Fashion Week is still a great opportunity to take advantage of the heightened audience interest in runway fashion.
Sherri Hill is a great example of that strategy. They generated the second-highest social engagement during New York Fashion Week, despite being an unofficial participant. Rather, Sherri Hill live streamed their show, which featured singer Bebe Rexha performing, on Facebook where it got viewed 39K times. Additionally, two Sherri Hill Facebook posts teasing the inclusion of former Miss Universes Pia Wurtzbach and Catriona Gray as runway models, cumulatively generating more than 585K Responses.
Don’t: Take A One-Size-Fits-All Approach to Your Social Content Strategy
Whether it was Kate Spade putting 65-year-old blogger Lyn Slater on the runway, or Rihanna using LGBTQ+ icon Laverne Cox as a model, New York Fashion Week took strides this year in becoming more inclusive around age, gender, and size; and that enlightened approach also paid off on social media.
The top performing post for Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty during Fashion Week was an Instagram post featuring plus size model Leslie Sidora in lingerie. Meanwhile, Christian Siriano got more nearly 22K responses around an Instagram picture of plus-sized and pregnant model Ashley Graham showing off her baby bump in evening wear.
Focusing on inclusion will broaden your audience, resulting in stickier social media posts.
Do: Leverage Fashion Week-Related Video
It’s difficult to convey the live experience of a runway show through photos and Instagram length videos alone. Brands should be sharing the entire video of their New York Fashion Week shows on social media, and many are already seeing great success with that strategy.
Ralph Lauren, whose runway show created a 1920s style black tie jazz club complete with a concert by Janelle Monáe, generated more than 56K Interactions on YouTube and nearly 10K Responses on Facebook. While Ralph Lauren definitely generated more engagement on Instagram, for instance their top NYFW related post received nearly 79K Responses, this interaction will most likely last a few seconds. However, audiences watching even a couple of minutes of the 36 minute long fashion show on YouTube and Facebook are exponentially more immersed in the brand experience.
Don’t: Treat Social Media As A Necessity Only During Fashion Week
Michael Kors was the brand that generated the most social media interest during New York Fashion Week, and a big part of this can be attributed to what they’ve been up to since the end of the last Fashion Week. Between September 15, 2018 – September 5, 2019, Michael Kors posted 1,482 times on social media, generating 2.86 million new fans for a total social media Fan Footprint of 36.9 million. Brands need to focus on engaging and building their social media audiences year-round, so when it does come time for New York Fashion Week, there’s as large and loyal an audience as possible to share the new season’s looks with.
Do: Get the Necessary Context to Properly Gauge Social Media Reaction
Tommy Hilfinger’s collaboration with actress Zendaya, the TommyXZendaya collection, drove more than 10K Tweets including the Twitter handle @TommyHilfiger between September 6-11, 2019. However, in the same time period, there were 646K Tweets mentioning Zendaya, with the top performing post being Zendaya’s tweet of the Tommy Hilfinger suit she wore at that show, generating more than 650K Responses.
By just looking at owned social media channels, Tommy Hilfinger would have had an incomplete picture of how successfully the collection was being received. By leveraging a robust social listening and analytics tool like ListenFirst, brands can get a more holistic view of how a campaign is performing on owned, earned, and paid channels and how to optimize it accordingly.
With an event as crowded as New York Fashion Week, it can be easy for your brand’s messaging to get lost in the audience’s oversaturated social media feeds. Understanding which owned and competitive strategies and content are best performing, both in the past and present, will allow fashion brands to better adapt to social media trends, ensuring their fashion-forward pieces are being consumed and well-received by a larger online audience.